Storytelling resources

Learn the art of storytelling

People all around the world have been telling stories for a long time. That’s because storytelling – when it’s done right – is something that everyone can connect with, no matter who they are or where they’re from.

Table of contents

  1. 1) Figure out your story elements
  2. 2) Structure your story
  3. 3) Tell your story
  4. 4) Think about an epilogue
  5. 5) Write the ending

Stories go one step further than simply presenting hard facts or data. They spark our imagination and emotions.

Learning how to tell a good story can be helpful in lots of different contexts. You might want to master storytelling to write the next smash hit screenplay or book. Or you might just want to pick up a few tricks to help with cooking up a 30-second advert, or a short talk for a company meeting.

We’ve written a few posts that explain different parts of the storytelling process. In this piece, we’ll give you a brief introduction to all of them – so you can start work on your masterpiece.

Figure out your story elements

Apollo’s entrance on YouTube

First things first, you need to work out what’s going in your story. This means defining the character, conflict, plot, setting, and theme. Each of these elements has a vital part to play, but the most important thing is how all the elements interact. If you change one story element, you’ve changed the whole story.

The 5 key story elements

Structure your story

Writing the meat of your story is always tough. But, if you follow some simple tips from our pal Aristotle, it can be a bit easier. The Greek maverick came up with a rock solid guide for narrative structure back in the fourth century, way before anyone had ever won an Oscar or penned a New York Times bestseller. He said that the perfect story structure is a three-act affair: setup, conflict, climax. Simple, right?

Story structure in three acts

Tell your story

You’ve got all your story ingredients and you’ve laid out the structure. Spiffy! Now, you just need to write the thing. But before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), there are a few things you need to do. Namely: conduct research, figure out how to inspire people, know your audience, then edit. Repeatedly.

How to tell a story

Think about an epilogue

An epilogue is a nifty device that acts as an additional – but separate – part of your story. You can use it to wrap up any loose ends, showing what happens to certain characters. Your story doesn’t necessarily need one, but it’s a useful thing to consider when you’re approaching the end of your storytelling journey. Just ask J. K. Rowling, who popped one in at the end of the Harry Potter series. Or Stranger Things creators, the Duffer Brothers. They freaking love an epilogue.

What is an epilogue?

Write the ending

After months of slaving away at your desk, it all comes down to this. The final flourish. The pièce de résistance. This is what your audience will think about as they drift out of the cinema and back into the world. It’ll be their lasting impression of your story. So, obviously, it’s pretty important to get it right. There are six basic story endings: resolved, unresolved, ambiguous, unexpected, tied, and expanded. And it’s definitely worth exploring all of them before you decide how to wrap up your story.

6 ways to end a story

Boords: your storytelling partner

Some things are better done alone, like going to the bathroom. But some things are better with a partner. Like storytelling, for example. Boords is the online storyboarding app for creative professionals. Simplify your pre-production process with storyboards, scripts, and animatics – then gather feedback – all in one place. Creating storyboards (and story endings) has never been simpler.